How many people start this program but fail to finish?

bdgfn Posts: 7,719 Member
edited October 2014 in Social Groups
I was reading a post on a different site regarding the percentage of people who start C25K to how many actually finish it and continue running. It was something like 10% if I remember correctly. Motivation is a big key in maintaining any program, and everyone who starts is motivated by something. For me, it is better health, and changing up my workout routine. I am already walking and bicycling (road cycling) and adding running to the mix would help with those days when I want to get out and do something but time is a concern. 30 minutes of running will burn more calories (at least I assume it will) than, say, an hour of walking. And as the weather changes, there will be fewer days where getting outside is going to be possible, due to snow, freezing rain, wind, etc, and the gym will be the best option. So, if you have completed the program and are still running, or if you are a C25K coach, I would love to hear your responses and ideas. Thanks much!


  • Just_Ceci
    Just_Ceci Posts: 5,926 Member
    I completed the program last year and went on to the 5 to 10k program. I'm still running about 3 days a week, alternating with road cycling. I started running when I hit a plateau and it worked. I've been at my goal weight for almost a year! I love cycling and I don't hate running anymore! I'm actually switching my focus from more cycling to more running as winter approaches. I'm looking at running a half marathon next spring.
  • shabaity
    shabaity Posts: 794 Member
    Bout with bronchitis knocked me out a year or so ago. That, my recently diagnosed exercise induced asthma becoming worse, then school, and a full time job just kept me down till recently. Now that I'm not wheezing my way thru it I'd like to actually complete it and maybe move on to 10k. This being said maybe getting a gym membership or a treadmill for winter running?
  • LadyWacko
    LadyWacko Posts: 12 Member
    I started the program countless times and gave it up all but once.... It always seemed to happen to me around week 3. Work would get busy, or I'd get sick or I'd hurt my knee or one of the kids would get sick and if you miss one workout, it's so easy to miss the next one. And then the thought of losing progress (or, heaven forbid, starting over) was just too disheartening. So I'd quit. Because somehow that's better.

    The time it worked was mostly just the planets aligning-- I got far enough into it before life inevitably got in the way again that it was easier to convince myself that I had come too far to turn back.
  • ftrobbie
    ftrobbie Posts: 1,017 Member
    I completed it second time around. For me the first failed because I had the wrong mindset. I started with the adage that I needed to run (and run fast), rather than be up on my feet not walking. So I went too fast, made sure I was on a dreadmill to ensure I did not slack off, got to week 4 and broke down injured, too much stress on the body. The 2nd time around, started off with the same mindset and errors but then found here. The gyms aircon system failed and so I went running outside. Suddenly running slower and not being bothered by the distance but only completing the segments all fell into place. I have signed up for a 10k 22 Nov and a HM 15 March 2015. I really enjoy running and go out 5 days a week. I now target HR and distance rather than pace and cope with going slower. No doubt at some point I will get frustrated but at the moment it's great.

  • upsaluki
    upsaluki Posts: 553 Member
    Third time was the charm for me. I just started 5k to 10k today. Slowing down and not worrying about whether I was going fast enough was key for me. Basically, I just listened to ftrobbie.
  • ftrobbie
    ftrobbie Posts: 1,017 Member
    upsaluki wrote: »
    Third time was the charm for me. I just started 5k to 10k today. Slowing down and not worrying about whether I was going fast enough was key for me. Basically, I just listened to ftrobbie.

    So kind. When out tonight another thought struck me. Why do people not get to the dreaded week 5 and why is w6d1 so hard? Personal view is that endorphins kick in about 12 mins into a run for me. So they never kicked in ever w5d3, and then w6d1 is another short segment run and the endorphins do not kick in. When getting "highs" becomes routine then it becomes self fulfilling activity. Therefore people just need to get to 15 min runs and then they "need" to do it rather than "have" to do it.

    So my thought is that you have to go slow and tough out c25k and then you get to enjoy it. Of course YMMV. Have fun

  • MeanderingMammal
    MeanderingMammal Posts: 7,870 Member
    For me, C25K gave me a structure that helped me avoid injury. Any time I'd tried running in the past I went out for an hour and thrashed myself. Two weeks in I had chronic shin splints and anterior knee pain. By forcing me to slow my pace, and to focus on form I eased into it. I used the NHS Podcasts, which have verbal coaching on form as well, so by concentrating on that I went into a mode than meant short pacing, smoother pacing and less bounce.

    That was about 18 months ago, and two weeks ago I ran a trail half marathon. I didn't get my goal time of sub 2 hours, although I'd been unwell for about 6 weeks so was only making baout half of my target training mileage. I've got another trail half in May now.

    I think the issue with drop off, and we can see it here, is that some people fail to complete because of the psychological challenge. Running is about 60% mental, just keeping going. You'll see lots of angst about the 12 minute and the 20 minute continuous runs, and some people never make it to there. For some, they try, have to walk, and see that as failure. Some give up, some continue to try, and some step back a week and repeat. Those that step back, sometimes then stay in their comfort zone until boredom kicks in.

    In terms of those who do complete, for some it's somthing they've done, so they want to try something else. Across in the Diet and Weight Loss forum there are lots of magpies, who flit from one activity to the next. That's fine too. Some move on to longer distances. Half marathon training doesn't take over your life. For me, midweek runs take an hour and a half, by the time I include stretching, showering etc. Weekend long runs can take 2-3 hours. Many people don't have that kind of time available, particularly at the weekend. 10K training is less time and probably equates to a gym session. Sixty minutes seems to be a sweet spot for people.

    Personally I find 5K to be not a particularly enjoyable distance, and prefer going longer. It takes me 10 to 15 minutes to relax into the run and feel comfortable, and when I'm completing 5K in 25 minutes that means I'm enjoying it or less than half of the session. I'm speculating, but suspect that might play into the decision for some as well.
  • PaytraB
    PaytraB Posts: 2,360 Member
    I completed C25K almost 2 years ago and run 3x a week. Due to work, life, home, etc. I find that I can't consistently put in more than 60-90 minutes for each run (60 on workdays; 90 on weekends). Because of that, my progress has been slower than most. On weekdays, I run 5-7K. I am trying hard to increase to 10K on the weekends. I'm loosely following the C10K program but because of time restrictions I've adapted it a lot to fit my schedule. Although it's working, my progress is very slow.

    Basically, on weekends, I run slower and farther than on weekdays. The idea being that to run faster, you have to run longer first. Then on the weekdays, I run at either a comfortable or slightly above comfortable speed or a combination of the two. Slowly, I'm getting faster and that extra speed gives me more time to go further. Going further sometimes makes me slower, though, so it's a bit of a balancing cycle.

    Overall, I'm getting faster, in my own time and to my own schedule. I have high hopes of being able to run 10K consistently by the end of this winter within my 60-75 minute weekday schedule. If not, I'm okay with that because I know I'll see progress.

    The bottom line is to make things work to your schedule so that you don't get frustrated, overwhelmed or otherwise. These distractions and disappointments (let's face it, if you don't keep up with some mental ideal, it's disappointing) can and will make you stop running. That took me awhile to realize as my C25K buddies, those I trained with, bypassed me in distance and time long, long ago. I am so happy for their progress and their achievements inspire me to keep trying but it can also be a disappointment to be so far behind, too. Don't get into that mind frame. It's a downer and will stop your progress really fast. Everyone has different schedules and you've got to find what works with the rest of your life.

    Like I said, I run 3x a week, at least 5K, and I really enjoy my runs. Find a pattern that you enjoy and you'll stick with it.

  • bdgfn
    bdgfn Posts: 7,719 Member
    Thank you everyone for your honest and forthright answers. I totally understand the part about taking a set amount of time to settle in on the longer runs. That happens to me on longer bike rides as well, so I am aware of it and can plan accordingly.

    I have had a rough two week run which included a dreaded medical "procedure", but I feel the need to get back out there and run/walk again, and already plan on it when I get home from work today.

    I hope everyone has a great day and amazing weekend!
  • Aine8046
    Aine8046 Posts: 2,122 Member
    edited October 2014
    First time I did c25k about three years ago and finished it. I lived in a very hot climate back then and was running on the treadmill in the gym. I ran my 5k (in 31 minutes) and stopped running. About a year ago (last winter) I started again, and was in a very cold climate, so I ran on the treadmill again. I started in December and was planning to do a race in February, but quit around week 5. Honestly do not ever remember why or how, but I had a lot of work and stopped going to gym. This time I started in September and ran outside, no more gym membership. Weather is perfect and I like it much more than the gym. I am about to graduate - have a race scheduled for the next weekend.
  • snbouchard81
    snbouchard81 Posts: 128 Member
    As someone who has starting C25K many times and never finished it (yet), I figure each time I start I am working harder than I would have otherwise. And so while I won't say I am successful with my goal yet, I don't call it a complete loss when I start over. One day I will get through it. And I can honestly say I feel better in my runs now than I ever did before finding C25K. Before this program the thought of me running for any period of time seemed laughable to me.

    I also wonder how that estimation compares with any exercise program. My gut instinct (not based on any research or anything) is that success rate is about the same as the people who start StrongLifts or NROL or any other exercise program. So I don't think this one is worse than any other program.
  • DTwoMama
    DTwoMama Posts: 7 Member
    I am brand new to this and looking forward to getting started! Any tips and encouragement are most welcome!! I can't run due to back/neck surgeries but I can definitely walk!